CHICAGO — Hundreds of flights have been canceled at Chicago airports ahead of the winter snowstorm headed toward the area.
As of 6 p.m., more than 560 flights have been canceled at O’Hare International Airport and nearly 260 canceled at Midway Airport.
Both airports are running on delays of about 15-35 minutes for arrivals and departures.
Dec. 23 is typically the busiest travel day ahead of Christmas, but things are expected to be more chaotic than usual Thursday due to the incoming storm.
Airlines are waving change fees at airports impacted by the weather, including both Midway and O’Hare.
You can check the latest airport status for O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, and cancelations and delays at both airports online.
As flights are canceled and delayed because of winter weather, travel expert Peter Greenberg said many airlines are offering storm waivers.
“Allowing people to rebook their flights with no financial penalty at a later date, but here’s the key, at a later date. That may mean after Christmas, which may ruin your plans,” Greenberg said.
He also said airline passengers are privy to some additional benefits.
“Under the U.S. Department of Transportation rules, if an airline cancels your flight for any reason whatsoever, you are entitled to that refund back to the original form of purchase, even if you bought a so-called non-refundable ticket,” Greenberg said.
On Thursday evening, thousands of passengers were at O’Hare International Airport hoping to make it out of the city.
But many people were met with disappointment due to delays and cancelations.
“We’re hoping for the best, I guess, just like everyone else,” Sarah Shaker, who is traveling to Germany and Egypt, said.
Shaker and her girls drove from the upper peninsula for Michigan to Green Bay, Wisconsin hoping to catch a flight that was canceled. After hours in a car, they ended up in Chicago.
“We just kept driving and drove all the way to Chicago,” Shaker said. “We’re trying to catch our flight to Frankfurt, Germany and then we are heading to Egypt.”
About 2.9 million people are expected to travel through Chicago’s airports over the next few days. Aviation officials said more than 700 employees will work shifts around the clock to help keep runways clear.
If your travel plans include flying, remember to check your flight status before coming to the airport. Make sure you arrive about two hours before your domestic flight and about three hours before your international flight.